Hello! I have a couple of book-related items to share, but then I'll list a few other thoughts/recommendations on this random Wednesday, which I hope finds you well.
First, baby's first major review! Kirkus Reviews wrote up my book, Burn It Down: Power, Complicity and a Call for Change in Hollywood, and it seemed pretty positive to me! Truly exciting.
Second, Barnes & Noble is having a sale on all pre-orders, today through April 28. If you use the code PREORDER25 at checkout, you get 25% percent off all pre-orders (here's more intel on what's coming out this year/soon). The offer includes audiobooks and e-books too! If you, like me, read books like it's your full-time job, this may be of interest. If you want to pre-order my book (which comes out June 6) with that sweet discount code, here's the link. (If you have already pre-ordered, many thanks! If you have no wish to order, thank you for your patience with BID talk!)
And if you want other book recs, I have so many but I'll restrain it to a few of my own pre-orders. I'm a big fan of Adrian Tchaikovsky's novels; he infuses his science fiction and fantasy sagas with absorbing and thoughtful character backstories, inventive world-building and a wry sense of humor. Lords of Uncreation, the third and final volume of his Final Architecture series, comes out May 2, and when I say I am counting the days until I can revisit some of my favorite space weirdos, I'm absolutely serious. This trilogy is, I think, Tchaikovsky's best work yet. Get on that if you like wonderfully gritty and imaginative space opera with well-earned twists, palpable atmosphere and complex, winning relationships!
Coming at you June 27 is Tilly Bridges' Begin Transmission: The Trans Allegories of The Matrix. I first saw Tilly's tweet threads about The Matrix a couple years ago and I very gladly fell down that rabbit hole! I can't wait for her book expansion of her thoughts on these topics.
This may sound like home-team boosting, which it is, but also, I'm legit excited about Wesley Lowery's new book, American Whitelash: A Changing Nation and the Cost of Progress. I've been a fan of Lowery's work as a journalist and analyst for some time, and his critiques of American journalism are also on point. So this book, which also comes out June 27, is extremely relevant to many of my interests. I don't know Wesley at all, but we do share an editor, the great Rakia Clark, and so I feel like somehow we're a little bit book-related, if that's a phrase that exists. (It does now, I guess!)
So what else am I into lately? Glad you asked! Here are eight standouts from the array of things I am a fan of right now:
- Gardening/landscaping/composting, of course. I've decided to do some improvements to our yard and I'm installing raised garden beds for the first time and rearranging a lot of how the space works and flows. Also if you need to know what else I nerd out about (so many things), I am about to grow buckwheat from seed as food for pollinators, so I was on some ag sites late last night figuring out when to plant those bad boys. I live a wild life, folks. But seriously, I am both nervous and excited (but sometimes really nervous) about my first book coming out, and working outside for hours at a time and hauling heavy things around really takes me out of my head, especially when I listen to music while I do all that. Hence I am working on the final curation of my life's work – the best Oasis playlist that could ever exist – while doing all this digging and hauling and more digging. I can multitask! Shoutout to the constant companions in the pic below: new heavy-duty work gloves and reliable old Fiskars clippers. And more seeds! I don't normally grow much from seed but this is gonna be my year on that front. Maybe!
- Star Trek: Picard. The show sure had some bumps and I could not even get through the second season, which, yikes, but overall, the third season was an emotionally engaging joy, in large part because I felt it was made by people (led by showrunner Terry Matalas) who don't just know Star Trek very well but love it for many of the reasons I've long loved it (even though the franchise frustrates me sometimes). This wasn't a mechanical nostalgia gambit or a rote IP play, it was a chance to revisit some beloved characters and relationships with insightful and informed storytelling goals in mind! In other words, it wasn't just "here's that thing you used to like once again," it was "here is the unfinished business and the ongoing development of these specific people as they grapple with the time that's passed and the decisions they've made." We've had lots of the former scenario in recent years, so very little of the latter done well! In any event, between all the Dominion and DS9 references in both Picard and Lower Decks (which we're also catching up on), can we please get another smart, energetically paced Star Trek series featuring various folks from various Treks and a whole bunch more Dominion goodness? I realize that the huge loss of René Auberjonois (RIP, I love you forever, Odo) might make weaving in a Dominion storyline a little complicated, but it's certainly doable! I really want some kind of stealth DS9 revival or continuation (as was clear from this For All Mankind post), and I will never stop hoping for that. A well-paced, character-centric show combining elements of DS9 with some TNG characters and folks from other Treks? Now, please. And of course I can't wait for Season 2 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds to drop on June 15.
- The "Last Chance" tab on streaming sites. I often find myself scrolling through the offerings on streaming sites and then becoming overwhelmed by the choices and not watching anything. But lately, if a site has one, I have been zeroing in on the "Last Chance" or "Before It's Gone" tab. That jolts me into action – I have to watch the thing before it leaves at the end of the month or whenever. Thus my rewatches of The Departed, the first two Bourne movies and the Harrison Ford Fugitive recently (a lot of Dad movies are leaving HBO Max this month!). Anyway, I think every streamer should have a prominently displayed Last Chance collection so that I do something besides sift through endless choices, add things to my queue, and then give up and go to sleep.
- Not a pre-order situation, but an "order because you like good books" situation: Kashana Cauley's The Survivalists. Kashana has an incredibly lively, humane, witty voice and I loved the characters and dilemmas she created in her novel, which I read like a speed demon on my recent vacation. A recommend from me!
- Me being a dingus about Party Down. I re-watched the first two seasons of this comedy – Lord almighty, still so good! And then after I watched those episodes, I had the late-breaking realization that I'd given up my Starz subscription a while back and I didn't get screeners (which is fine! I've fallen off a lot of screener lists over the past two book-writing years, and it's understandable/OK). Anyway, I have to get back on that subscription horse in order to watch Season 3, which I plan to do soon!
- Cathbad. Last year I ripped through all of Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway mysteries (an English archaeologist helping to solve modern-day and past crimes? Yes please!). And the series has a lot of pleasures, but the character I love the most in these books is a local Norfolk Druid named Cathbad. If anything bad ever happens to Cathbad, I will not be responsible for my actions. I love him so much. Anyway, the latest Galloway mystery just dropped this week and I can't wait to dig into it (see what I did there – archaeology, get it??).
- Succession, duh. I mean, "barnacle meat"? These performances? Every single thing about this season? I can't get enough of these genuinely terrible people whom these writers, performers and directors make me care about every goddamn week. Please never leave, my beautiful plutocratic garbage monsters.
- Warrior is coming back June 29! Things have been so topsy-turvy in TV that even though the HBO Max (soon to be simply Max) drama was renewed for a third season, I wondered, would it actually come out? If so, when? Well, now we know it returns, really and truly, this summer and I am very glad. A primer on the show in case you want to catch up!